Author Topic: Traditional Toppings  (Read 3032 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Darkstream

  • Guest
Traditional Toppings
« on: October 20, 2004, 11:56:02 AM »
You have a very interesting site here.

I have seen recipes for pizza I have only ever heard of (Chicago), and for pizza I have NEVER heard of (New York, Cincinatti, Cleveland).

But right now I am interested in tradditional Italian regional toppings.

Does anyone know of a site(s) that lists such toppings?

(http://mysite.freeserve.com/Bonds/dg7.gif)




Darkstream


Offline Gils

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 39
  • Age: 44
  • Location: Montana
Re:Traditional Toppings
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2004, 02:04:29 PM »
I don't have any sites right off the top of my head, but I do know that one of the more traditional Italian pies is the simple one. Either a Margherita or a Neopolitan. Basically they are the same where they are dough, with a hearty sauce and fresh mozzarella slices placed on it and cooked at high temp for crispness.

Margherita is supposedly the first with basil spices added to the top, and neopolitan came later with cheeses from Naples and added garlic to the mix.

While some areas added meat sauce, others added vegetables to the mix, but the two mentioned above are actually the traditional pizzas of Italy to my knowledge.
I have not had the pleasure of visiting, and there may be others with more info to add or correct me. Sorry I couldn't give you more of what you wanted.

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22126
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re:Traditional Toppings
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2004, 04:05:31 PM »
Gils and Darkstream,

When I went through my "authentic Neapolitan pizza phase", I found myself researching Naples pizza restaurant websites (usually in Italian) and looking at pizza menus to get an idea of the diversity of ingredients and toppings used on their pizzas.  As you may know, the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association (VPN), the Italian "pizza-nazis", officially certified four Neapolitan pizzas:

Marinara (Napoletana): Tomato, olive oil, oregano, and garlic.
Margherita: Tomato, olive oil, grated Parmesan, and fior-di-latte or mozzarella.
Ripieno (Calzone): Ricotta, fior-di-latte or mozzarella, olive oil, and salami.
Formaggio e Pomodoro: Tomato, olive oil, and grated Parmesan

(Basil is also permitted on all of these pizzas, and variations  are recognized if they are "informed by the Neapolitan tradition of pizzas and are not in contrast with the rules of gastronomy, with judgment reserved to the Association's committee".)

In May of this year, the Italian Ministry of Agricultural Politics in Italy proposed a new set of rules governing virtually all aspects of Neapolitan pizza production, from dough ingredients, to toppings, to processing and baking techniques.  These rules were even more restrictive than those used by the VPN (but limited to Italy).  The ministry's rules authorize the following pizzas:

Marinara (with garlic and oregano, tomatoes, and extra-virgin olive oil distributed in a spiral pattern starting from the center of the pizza), Margherita (with tomatoes, STG mozzarella cheese or fior di latte cheese from the southern Appennine mountains, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil distributed in a spiral pattern), and Extra Margherita (with tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala from the Campania region, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil distributed in a spiral pattern).  (The rules also get quite specific as to tomatoes: "peeled and crushed tomatoes or fresh tomatoes grown in the Mt. Vesuvius area", which strongly suggests the San Marzano tomatoes).

Obviously, pizza restaurants can't survive on just three of four types of Neapolitan pizzas, but those that do make these basic pizzas will offer many other kinds of pizzas that are also classically Neapolitan style pizzas (like Quattro Formaggi and Quattro Stagioni, etc.).  They will use common, locally available ingredients such as anchovies, arugula, artichokes, asparagus, zucchini, potatoes, prosciutto, ham, green onions, yellow cherry-type tomatoes, cultivated and wild mushrooms, olives, capers, broccoli rabe, roasted vegetables, salami, and a wide variety of cheeses beyond the classic mozzarella cheeses, including Parmigiano-Reggiano, grana padano, fontina, gorgonzola, ricotta, and provolone (regular and smoked).  Neapolitans are also fond of eggs on their pizzas.  

My best advice for anyone interested in the classic Neapolitan toppings is to go to the VPN website, at http://www.verapizzanapoletana.org/vpn/index.html, and look for the link to "Members".  These are the pizza establishments around the world that have agreed to abide by the strict rules and regulations promulgated by the VPN.  Links to some of the member websites are also provided.  I would look first at Antica Pizzeria and La Pizza Fresca to get an idea as to classical Neapolitan toppings.  I would also look at Naples 45 which, together with La Pizza Fresca, are the only restaurants in NYC to be certified by the VPN.  The VPN members list doesn't provide a link to Naples 45, but the menu can be viewed by going to http://www.menupages.com/restaurantdetails.asp?areaid=0&restaurantid=3343&neighborhoodid=0&cuisineid=0 and clicking on the menu icon.  For those who are truly anal on this topic, they can go to the VPN members list and do Google searches on other listed U.S. pizza establishement, or some of the listed Neapolitan pizza establishments.  In many cases, you will be able to find and review pizza menus.  Doing this will provide a treasure trove of toppings possibilities.

Gils, with the internet, you no longer have to go anywhere to get answers to your questions, even those as arcane as regional Neapolitan pizza toppings ;D.  You can do it from the comfort of your armchair.

Peter

« Last Edit: October 29, 2004, 05:20:14 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Gils

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 39
  • Age: 44
  • Location: Montana
Re:Traditional Toppings
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2004, 05:22:54 PM »
Hey Peter,

Thanks for the info. That's incredible that the guidelines are so precise, but I guess I can understand them. I had forgotten that eggs were popular on pizzas in that area, though I did know that anchovies are a popular one. I think they do quite a bit with anchovies in their cooking it seems.

Mike

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22126
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re:Traditional Toppings
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2004, 06:47:41 PM »
Mike,

The level of detail is frightening.  I took the original Italian Ministry's proposal (at http://gazzette.comune.jesi.an.it/2004/120/9.htm) and used the Google translator to translate the text from Italian to English.  At the time the proposal was first announced, I summarized the gist of the proposal as follows (in quotes):

"The rules dictate which flours can be used ("00" and eventually "0"), what types of tomatoes can be used (peeled and crushed tomatoes or fresh tomatoes grown in the Mt. Vesuvius area), the type of yeast that can be used (fresh, or beer, yeast), the type of salt that can be used (sea salt or kitchen salt), the type of water that can be used (drinkable natural water), and the type of oil that can be used (extra virgin olive oil).  In addition, the new rules state that the pizza dough must be soft, elastic and not sticky, and that it must be left to rise at least 6 hours (for example, a single rise of 6 hours or a first rise of 2 hours and a second rise of 4 hours), and be kneaded, shaped and formed into a round solely by hand, that is, without the use of rolling pins, dough rollers or other mechanical instruments.  The diameter of the pizza round may not exceed 35 cm. (about 13 3/4'), and have a thickness of no more than a third of a centimeter in the center (about 1/10") and a thickness no greater than 2 cm. (about 3/4") at the edge (cornicione).   The pizza must be baked in a wood-fired oven that can achieve a temperature of 485 degrees C (905 degrees F).  The crust of the baked pizza should be soft, elastic, and be easy to fold in two (a libretto).   (No period of refrigeration of dough is called for, which is consistent with classic Neapolitan dough production.)"

The Italians scoff at the new rules and most aren't in compliance and have no plans to comply.  There are over 23,000 pizza restaurants in Italy alone, serving more than 56 million pizzas a week.  It is estimated that around 200 pizza restaurants were planning to apply for certification.  Since there are no sanctions imposed for noncompliance, it is not clear what enforcement measures will be taken for perceived violations.

One of these days, just for the fun of it, I am going to try to make a basic Margherita pizza based on the above guidelines.  I have some 00 flour (although not the Caputo 00 flour that is most widely used in Italy and considered to be the best), I have San Marzano tomatoes (with the DOP designation), I have sea salt, fresh basil growing out back, and I can get cake yeast and the imported Italian buffalo mozzarella cheese.  I also have what is considered to be a basic 00 dough recipe as used in Naples.  All I don't have is Neapolitan olive oil, Neapolitan water or a wood-fired oven.  I have been told by merchants in Little Italy in NYC that the olive oil from Naples (in the region of Campania) is not of high quality in any event (the merchants don't carry it) and is usually diverted to the bulk oil trade.  As for the water, you might be interested in knowing that Naples 45 in NYC at one point imported the water for its Neapolitan pizzas from Naples to insure authenticity (it now gets the water from a domestic source that formulates the water to mimic the composition of the Naples water).  For the wood-fired oven, I guess I will just have to wait until Randy builds his and tells the rest of us how to do it ;D.  I'm salivating just thinking about the prospects.  

Peter


Darkstream

  • Guest
Re:Traditional Toppings
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2004, 10:12:47 AM »
Thanks for the interest guys.

I am on a diet and so I am eating a lot of pizza, every day in fact. But I get fed up with the same topping  every day, so I just wondered if you knew of any sites I had not discovered.

I have used Ada Boni, Elizabeth David, a couple of other books, and scoured the net and I think I have got about 30 traditional toppings or so for pizza.

Plus about 15 to 20 focaccia recipes (the main alternative lunch).

I realize you guys are doing your own thing, and I would love to join in your quest, but the saturated/hydrogenated fat levels make it  impossible. Thats why I need the low animal/hydrogentated fat traditional type toppings.

If anybody would like me to post what I have discovered, let me know.

Otherwise, I will continue to just lurk arround.



(http://mysite.freeserve.com/Bonds/dg7.gif)

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22126
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re:Traditional Toppings
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2004, 12:41:10 AM »
Darkstream,

Welcome to the forum.

I'd be interested in seeing the list of toppings you developed.

Peter

Darkstream

  • Guest
Re:Traditional Toppings
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2004, 11:08:40 AM »
OK Peter.

I will try and get them (or at least some) over the next week.

Do you want the low fat/calorie adaption, or the original (which is likely to suit most of the members from what I can see!) ?

Regards,

(http://mysite.freeserve.com/Bonds/dg7.gif)

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22126
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re:Traditional Toppings
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2004, 03:25:29 PM »
Darkstream,

There's a side of me that looks at the so-called "healthy" side of pizza as well as the more tasty side.  I'd like to see both if that isn't too big of a problem for you.  Take your time.  I'm in no particular hurry.  Thanks,

Peter